Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo treated a baby elephant with a new set of soccer balls to play with as the young pachyderm celebrated her first birthday at the UK’s largest Zoo.
In fact, Baby Elizabeth enjoys running around playing soccer so much that she rarely allows the other herd members – or indeed her zookeepers – a chance to Take the ball out of her.
Elizabeth, who turned one year old, has enjoyed using her trunk to ‘roll’ an inflatable medicine ball around her 30-acre exhibit from an early age, making zookeepers choose balls as the perfect gift for the youngest and most energetic members the nine Asian elephant herd.
Baby Elizabeth loves to run around and play with the ball so much that she rarely allows other herd members to come near the ball.
The elephant was named after HM Queen because it was born just before Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.
Mark Howes, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo elephant keeper, said: ‘We knew Elizabeth would absolutely love her birthday presents – as well as providing a great source of fun and stimulation; It also keeps her very active.
‘For a baby elephant, Elizabeth certainly has a lot of skill when it comes to dribbling a ball; she is somewhat natural with the ball!
‘When elephants are first born, it can take them a while to figure out how to get the most out of their trunk, which contains more than 40,000 muscles, but we were all amazed by how quickly Elizabeth mastered it and how much control she seems to have. ‘
As an infant, Elizabeth weighed approximately 130kg, but after a year, she had lost just under half a ton (480kg).
The female elephant – named after HM Queen when she was born just before the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations in 2016 – can be seen in the herd’s brand new Elephant Care Centre, opened by HM The Queen in April this year.
Elizabeth dribbles in the zoo while surrounded by another elephant
Check out the adorable video below!